They seem to do things differently at sofa.com. At the brand new West Country showroom it feels more like gatecrashing someone's sitting room than setting foot in yet another furniture store, the people of Bath are lounging on smokey grey and purple velvet sofas and sipping espresso out of dinky Cornishware cups.
There's the furniture, obviously - a tasteful blend of hip and quirky upholstered in velvet and tweed, there's the artful collection of reclamation yard finds, chandeliers and lamps and vases dotted around to further enhance the home from home atmosphere. There's a cafe right at the heart of things - properly good coffee, cake and mince pies if you want them - and crucially a kid's area with a continuous reel of well picked movies to hopefully buy you a little more decision time. It is the complete antithesis of the toxic, nerve jangling experience that is shopping at IKEA - you can even bring your dog.
Sofa.com began as an online only business, keeping its overheads low so it could sell covetable, hipster furniture at affordable prices. Each piece of furniture carries a no quibble full refund guarantee (provided it's within 2 weeks) so if it arrives and doesn't fit after all or you can't stand the radish coloured Irish tweed that looked so tempting on the website, no problem.
Then a few years down the line it turned out that their customers wanted a more tactile buying experience, they wanted to stretch out on the 3 seater Oscar sofa and touch that slinky chocolate brown velvet for themselves. And so, via the first showroom in Chelsea to its second outpost in Bath.
Over three floors in The Corridor, a shopping centre just off the main high street, sofa.com has good looking beds, sofas, armchairs, footstools on every turn. Just when you think you've found the ultimate mid-century inspired 3 seater you'll get railroaded by a charcoal linen corner sofa so ridiculously comfortable it's possible you will never leave the house again. Much to fall for - the wonderfully kitsch-sounding 'loveseats' - a cross between a sofa and armchair, the very elegant and classic Descartes sofa, pictured below, or the briliantly contemporary Fleetwood, all angular cool and pining for an East End address.
What they do brilliantly here is reinterpret past trends giving them a contemporary spin - so the Abigail sofa designed by Abigail Ahern - which clearly evokes the 70s while remaining an iconic 21st century piece.